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Reconsolidation of memories has mostly been studied at the behavioral and molecular level. Here, we put forward a simple extension of existing computational models of synaptic consolidation to capture hippocampal slice experiments that have been interpreted as reconsolidation at the synaptic level. The model implements reconsolidation through stabilization of consolidated synapses by stabilizing entities combined with an activity-dependent reservoir of stabilizing entities that are immune to protein synthesis inhibition (PSI). We derive a reduced version of our model to explore the conditions under which synaptic reconsolidation does or does not occur, often referred to as the boundary conditions of reconsolidation. We find that our computational model of synaptic reconsolidation displays complex boundary conditions. Our results suggest that a limited resource of hypothetical stabilizing molecules or complexes, which may be implemented by protein phosphorylation or different receptor subtypes, can underlie the phenomenon of synaptic reconsolidation.
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This study evaluates single-cell indicators of glutamate transport in sulforhodamine 101-positive astrocytes of Q175 mice, a knock-in model of Huntington's disease (HD). Transport-related fluorescent ratio signals obtained with sodium-binding benzofuran isophtalate (SBFI) AM from unperturbed or voltage-clamped astrocytes and respective glutamate transporter currents (GTCs) were induced by photolytic or synaptic glutamate release and isolated pharmacologically. The HD-induced deficit ranged from -27% (GTC maximum at -100 mV in Ba(2+)) to -41% (sodium transients in astrocytes after loading SBFI-AM). Our specific aim was to clarify the mechanism(s) by which Kir4.1 channels can influence glutamate transport, as determined by either Na(+) imaging or transport-associated electrical signals. A decrease of Kir4.1 conductance was mimicked with Ba(2+) (200 μm), and an increase of Kir4.1 expression was obtained by intravenous administration of AAV9-gfaABC1D-Kir4.1-EGFP. The decrease of Kir4.1 conductance reduced the sodium transients but increased the amplitudes of somatic GTCs. Accordingly, after genetic upregulation of Kir4.1, somatic GTCs were found to be decreased. In individual cells, there was a negative correlation between Kir4.1 currents and GTCs. The relative effect of the Kir4.1 conductance was higher in the astrocyte periphery. These and other results suggest that the Kir4.1 conductance affects glutamate transporter activity in a dual manner: (1) by providing the driving force (voltage dependency of the transport itself) and (2) by limiting the lateral charge transfer (thereby reducing the interference with other electrogenic transporter functions). This leads to the testable prediction that restoring the high conductance state of passive astrocytes will not only normalize glutamate uptake but also restore other astrocytic transporter activities afflicted with HD. Insufficiency of astrocytic glutamate uptake is a major element in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases. Considering the heterogeneity of astrocytes and their differential susceptibility to therapeutic interventions, it becomes necessary to evaluate the determinants of transport activity in individual astroglial cells. We have examined intracellular Na(+) transients and glutamate transporter currents as the most telling indicators of glutamate clearance after synaptic or photolytic release of glutamate in striatal slices. The results show that, in Huntington's disease, glutamate uptake activity critically depends on Kir4.1. These channels enable the high conductance state of the astrocytic plasma membrane, which ensures the driving force for glutamate transport and dumps the transport-associated depolarization along the astrocyte processes. This has significant implications for developing therapeutic targets.
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The primary gustatory cortex (GC) receives projections from the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA). Behavioral and electrophysiological studies demonstrated that this projection is involved in encoding the hedonic value of taste and is a source of anticipatory activity in GC. Anatomically, this projection is largest in the agranular portion of GC; however, its synaptic targets and synaptic properties are currently unknown. In vivo electrophysiological recordings report conflicting evidence about BLA afferents either selectively activating excitatory neurons or driving a compound response consistent with the activation of inhibitory circuits. Here we demonstrate that BLA afferents directly activate excitatory neurons and two distinct populations of inhibitory neurons in both superficial and deep layers of rat GC. BLA afferents recruit different proportions of excitatory and inhibitory neurons and show distinct patterns of circuit activation in the superficial and deep layers of GC. These results provide the first circuit-level analysis of BLA inputs to a sensory area. Laminar- and target-specific differences of BLA inputs likely explain the complexity of amygdalocortical interactions during sensory processing. Projections from the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) to the cortex convey information about the emotional value and the expectation of a sensory stimulus. Although much work has been done to establish the behavioral role of BLA inputs to sensory cortices, very little is known about the circuit organization of BLA projections. Here we provide the first in-depth analysis of connectivity and synaptic properties of the BLA input to the gustatory cortex. We show that BLA afferents activate excitatory and inhibitory circuits in a layer-specific and pattern-specific manner. Our results provide important new information about how neural circuits establishing the hedonic value of sensory stimuli and driving anticipatory behaviors are organized at the synaptic level.
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Reduced integrity of white matter (WM) pathways and subtle anomalies in gray matter (GM) morphology have been hypothesized as mechanisms in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). However, findings on structural brain changes in early stages after mTBI are inconsistent and findings related to early symptoms severity are rare. Fifty-one patients were assessed with multimodal neuroimaging and clinical methods exclusively within 7 days following mTBI and compared to 53 controls. Whole-brain connectivity based on diffusion tensor imaging was subjected to network-based statistics, whereas cortical surface area, thickness, and volume based on T1-weighted MRI scans were investigated using surface-based morphometric analysis. Reduced connectivity strength within a subnetwork of 59 edges located predominantly in bilateral frontal lobes was significantly associated with higher levels of self-reported symptoms. In addition, cortical surface area decreases were associated with stronger complaints in five clusters located in bilateral frontal and postcentral cortices, and in the right inferior temporal region. Alterations in WM and GM were localized in similar brain regions and moderately-to-strongly related to each other. Furthermore, the reduction of cortical surface area in the frontal regions was correlated with poorer attentive-executive performance in the mTBI group. Finally, group differences were detected in both the WM and GM, especially when focusing on a subgroup of patients with greater complaints, indicating the importance of classifying mTBI patients according to severity of symptoms. This study provides evidence that mTBI affects not only the integrity of WM networks by means of axonal damage but also the morphology of the cortex during the initial post-injury period. These anomalies might be greater in the acute period than previously believed and the involvement of frontal brain regions was consistently pronounced in both findings. The dysconnected subnetwork suggests that mTBI can be conceptualized as a dysconnection syndrome. It remains unclear whether reduced WM integrity is the trigger for changes in cortical surface area or whether tissue deformations are the direct result of mechanical forces acting on the brain. The findings suggest that rapid identification of high-risk patients with the use of clinical scales should be assessed acutely as part of the mTBI protocol.
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Voltage-gated sodium channels are responsible for the initiation and propagation of action potentials (APs). Two brain isoforms, Nav1.1 and Nav1.6, have very distinct cellular and subcellular expression. Specifically, Nav1.1 is predominantly expressed in the soma and proximal axon initial segment of fast-spiking GABAergic neurons, while Nav1.6 is found at the distal axon initial segment and nodes of Ranvier of both fast-spiking GABAergic and excitatory neurons. Interestingly, an auxiliary voltage-gated sodium channel subunit, Navβ4, is also enriched in the axon initial segment of fast-spiking GABAergic neurons. The C-terminal tail of Navβ4 is thought to mediate resurgent sodium current, an atypical current that occurs immediately following the action potential and is predicted to enhance excitability. To better understand the contribution of Nav1.1, Nav1.6 and Navβ4 to high frequency firing, we compared the properties of these two channel isoforms in the presence and absence of a peptide corresponding to part of the C-terminal tail of Navβ4. We used whole-cell patch clamp recordings to examine the biophysical properties of these two channel isoforms in HEK293T cells and found several differences between human Nav1.1 and Nav1.6 currents. Nav1.1 channels exhibited slower closed-state inactivation but faster open-state inactivation than Nav1.6 channels. We also observed a greater propensity of Nav1.6 to generate resurgent currents, most likely due to its slower kinetics of open-state inactivation, compared to Nav1.1. These two isoforms also showed differential responses to slow and fast AP waveforms, which were altered by the Navβ4 peptide. Although the Navβ4 peptide substantially increased the rate of recovery from apparent inactivation, Navβ4 peptide did not protect either channel isoform from undergoing use-dependent reduction with 10 Hz step-pulse stimulation or trains of slow or fast AP waveforms. Overall, these two channels have distinct biophysical properties that may differentially contribute to regulating neuronal excitability.
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Recent evidence suggests that tau aggregation may spread via extracellular release and subsequent uptake by synaptically connected neurons, but little is known about the processes by which tau is released or the molecular forms of extracellular tau. To gain insight into the nature of extracellular tau, we used highly sensitive ELISAs, which, when used in tandem, are capable of differentiating between full-length (FL) tau, mid-region-bearing fragments, and C-terminal (CT) fragments. We applied these assays to the systematic study of the conditioned media of N2a cells, induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human cortical neurons, and primary rat cortical neurons, each of which was carefully assessed for viability. In all three neuronal models, the bulk of extracellular tau was free-floating and unaggregated and <0.2% was encapsulated in exosomes. Although most intracellular tau was FL, the majority of extracellular tau was CT truncated and appeared to be released both actively by living neurons and passively by dead cells. In contrast, only a small amount of extracellular tau was aggregation-competent tau (i.e., contained the microtubule-binding regions) and this material appears to be released solely due to a low level of cell death that occurs in all cell culture systems. Importantly, amyloid β-protein (Aβ)-induced neuronal compromise significantly increased the quantity of all forms of extracellular tau, but the presence of Aβ before detectable cell compromise did not increase extracellular tau. Collectively, these results suggest that factors that induce neuronal death are likely to be necessary to initiate the extracellular spread of tau aggregation. Recent studies suggest that the transfer of tau between neurons underlies the characteristic spatiotemporal progression of neurofibrillary pathology. We searched for tau in the conditioned medium of N2a cells, induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human cortical neurons, and primary rat cortical neurons and analyzed the material present using four different tau ELISAs. We demonstrate that the majority of tau released from healthy neurons is C-terminally truncated and lacks the microtubule-binding region (MTBR) thought necessary for self-aggregation. A small amount of MTBR-containing tau is present outside of cells, but this appears to be solely due to cell death. Therefore, if propagation of tau aggregation is mediated by extracellular tau, our findings suggest that neuronal compromise is required to facilitate this process.
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To investigate the effect of senescence on signal transmission, we have compared the visual response latency and spontaneous activity of cells in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), area 17, area 18 and posteromedial lateral suprasylvian area (PMLS) of young and old cats. We found that LGN cells in old cats exhibit largely normal visual response latency. In contrast, all the other three areas exhibited significant aging-related delays in the visual response latency. On average, PMLS showed most pronounced delays among these three areas. Area 18 slowed more than area 17, but this was not significant. The degradation of signal timing in the visual cortex might provide insight into neuronal response mechanism underlying perception slowing during aging.
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The main objectives of this study were to investigate the development of face perception in Japanese children, focusing on the changes in face processing strategies (holistic and/or configural vs. feature-based) that occur during childhood. To achieve this, we analyzed the face-related N170 component, evoked by upright face, inverted face, and eyes stimuli in 82 Japanese children aged between 8- and 13-years-old. During the experiment, the children were asked to perform a target detection task in which they were told to press a button when they saw images of faces or kettles with mustaches, glasses, and fake noses; i.e., an implicit face perception task. The N170 signals observed after the presentation of the upright face stimuli were longer in duration and/or had at least two peaks in the 8-11-year-old children, whereas those seen in the 12-13-year-old children were sharp and only had a single peak. N170 latency was significantly longer after the presentation of the eyes stimuli than after the presentation of the upright face stimuli in the 10- and 12-year-old children. In addition, significant differences in N170 latency were observed among all three stimulus types in the 13-year-old children. N170 amplitude was significantly greater after the presentation of the eyes stimuli than after the presentation of the upright face stimuli in the 8-10- and 12-year-old children. The results of the present study indicate that the upright face stimuli were processed using holistic and/or configural processing by the 13-year-old children.
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This study investigated the role of bottom-up and top-down neural mechanisms in the processing of emotional face expression during memory formation. Functional brain imaging data was acquired during incidental learning of positive ("happy"), neutral and negative ("angry" or "fearful") faces. Dynamic Causal Modeling (DCM) was applied on the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data to characterize effective connectivity within a brain network involving face perception (inferior occipital gyrus and fusiform gyrus) and successful memory formation related areas (hippocampus, superior parietal lobule, amygdala, and orbitofrontal cortex). The bottom-up models assumed processing of emotional face expression along feed forward pathways to the orbitofrontal cortex. The top-down models assumed that the orbitofrontal cortex processed emotional valence and mediated connections to the hippocampus. A subsequent recognition memory test showed an effect of negative emotion on the response bias, but not on memory performance. Our DCM findings showed that the bottom-up model family of effective connectivity best explained the data across all subjects and specified that emotion affected most bottom-up connections to the orbitofrontal cortex, especially from the occipital visual cortex and superior parietal lobule. Of those pathways to the orbitofrontal cortex the connection from the inferior occipital gyrus correlated with memory performance independently of valence. We suggest that bottom-up neural mechanisms support effects of emotional face expression and memory formation in a parallel and partially overlapping fashion.
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Spinal cord injury (SCI) patients develop chronic pain involving poorly understood central and peripheral mechanisms. Because dysregulation of the voltage-gated Kv3.4 channel has been implicated in the hyperexcitable state of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons following direct injury of sensory nerves, we asked whether such a dysregulation also plays a role in SCI. Kv3.4 channels are expressed in DRG neurons, where they help regulate action potential (AP) repolarization in a manner that depends on the modulation of inactivation by protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent phosphorylation of the channel's inactivation domain. Here, we report that, 2 weeks after cervical hemicontusion SCI, injured rats exhibit contralateral hypersensitivity to stimuli accompanied by accentuated repetitive spiking in putative DRG nociceptors. Also in these neurons at 1 week after laminectomy and SCI, Kv3.4 channel inactivation is impaired compared with naive nonsurgical controls. At 2-6 weeks after laminectomy, however, Kv3.4 channel inactivation returns to naive levels. Conversely, Kv3.4 currents at 2-6 weeks post-SCI are downregulated and remain slow-inactivating. Immunohistochemistry indicated that downregulation mainly resulted from decreased surface expression of the Kv3.4 channel, as whole-DRG-protein and single-cell mRNA transcript levels did not change. Furthermore, consistent with Kv3.4 channel dysregulation, PKC activation failed to shorten the AP duration of small-diameter DRG neurons. Finally, re-expressing synthetic Kv3.4 currents under dynamic clamp conditions dampened repetitive spiking in the neurons from SCI rats. These results suggest a novel peripheral mechanism of post-SCI pain sensitization implicating Kv3.4 channel dysregulation and potential Kv3.4-based therapeutic interventions.
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